“I shut my eyes in order to see” Paul Gauguin
Acting on feedback is one of the most, if not the most effective means of learning and growing. Yet so few people receive useful feedback.
How often have you received feedback that clearly identified for you what you did well and specifically what you could do to improve?
When I was at school, I received plenty of less than positive feedback in the form of low marks and poor grades. My school reports were filled with “could do better” or “could try harder” statements. My parents would then ask me what I needed to do better. Well I honestly didn't have a clue. I, of course, knew that I hadn't worked as hard as most of my classmates. I also knew that some of my homework had been a little rushed and lackadaisical. Even my teachers at the time when I asked about the required outcomes (I wasn't quite this clear of course) and what specifically I needed to do “better” or “harder” gave me short shrift.
When I started my career in the kitchens of a hotel, I had a little more clarity about the expectations of my role. However many dirty pots in site were to be cleaned. Floors scrubbed. Potatoes peeled and so on. At least I knew what I was supposed to achieve and could easily see whether I had achieved it or not. But feedback? Sure, I either got shouted at, locked in the walk-in freezer, told to keep working until everything was done or, blessed day… got an actual “well done”… once!
- When was the last time your boss told you what you had done well and what you could do to improve?
I know, rare isn't it?
You probably have heard that you need to “do better”, “try harder”. “do it faster” or similar?
But here's the nasty question… when did you last tell your team members what they were doing well and what they needed to improve?
Yes, of course, the annual performance review. When you get a grading of some sort for your performance and all the myriad reasons it isn't as good as you thought it should be. And had you, 11 months previously done something different… all would be well…
- When was the last time you reviewed your own performance? Prior to reading this book?
I want to share with you the two single most powerful tools you can put to use today that will improve your performance and start improving your staff performance.
I'll start with the latter – giving feedback to others – as this will be one thing you can do to develop your team immediately – this will make you a better, more respected and effective leader. Then I'll end this part with my favourite tool and the title of this book – What's Better Today?